When l was 8 years old, my class teacher Mrs. Nwaoha taught me the importance of merit in attaining positions whilst handing me my first experience of taking responsibilities outside my home. Her approach continues to influence my thinking to this day.
By Adeola Aderounmu
Usually l write my random reflections annually on July 12 to mark my birthday. In recent weeks l have written sporadically in this column (View from Scandinavian in the Nigeria Village Square).
I have not been able to keep to the schedule of publishing every Sunday.
There are explanations for this.
One is that sometimes one feels the urge to just take it easy during the weekend when the week days have been intensive and tiring.
Second is that sometimes l listen to the news from Nigeria or I read the newspaper and then l found out that what my friend told me is true: the more things change in Nigeria, the more they stay the same.
As a columnist it is becoming more demanding to write about Nigeria in order to keep the content fresh or valid. It is hard to do this.
The problems that Nigerian columnists wrote about in 1980 are still the same problems that we are writing about today.
Nigeria has failed to develop or evolve.
We have not been able to change or raised the standard of our discussions to issues that challenge our growth or development because Nigeria is not growing or developing in comparison to several countries with high standard of living and high life expectation.
We are stagnated on economic issues as the value of the Naira remains a disgrace to the country and the people.
In far away places including America, Nigerians have been placed in strategic positions to help the country remain progressive in various ramifications.
However in Nigeria, for more than 50 years, we convert our economic gurus and scientists to fellow political criminals as soon as they arrive on the political stage.
We don’t move forward.
In politics, at a time that the world is discussing migration politics and politics of job creation, we in Nigeria are still struggling with counting of ballot papers.
Nigeria is a disgrace to Africa when it comes to conducting elections.
Recently it was in Kogi State and last week it was in Rivers State where people in this century and age went about killing fellow human beings just because they were asked to cast their votes.
In 1980 whilst I was in primary 3 my class teacher thought it was time to appoint class representatives who would be good ambassadors of her class. She adopted the merit system.
She based her arguments on performances during classwork and related activities.
It was a peaceful exercise. l emerged as the class captain and Foluso Agboola emerged as the assistant class captain.
It probably wasn’t a democratic process but it is an integral part of democracy, that merit would be considered a factor in producing candidates.
We were rewarded with positions because we deserved it.
Before that process I had seen boys since l was 6 years old or less fighting for place and supremacy and l have no idea how or why they thought they had to fight to claim authority when they have not shown that they are responsible.
Mrs. Nwaoha cleared things in my head forever. Merit first.
In 2016 the Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot conduct elections that involve ordinary counting of votes.
The people of Rivers cannot conduct themselves orderly. They went about committing murders and arsons rather then fishing out men of character and integrity like civilised people.
In several essays l have written of the times l wept for Nigeria in my private moment and it is not a joke or make believe. Sometimes l had cleaned tear drops from my laptops.
If an x-ray can reveal a bleeding heart, the beam light should come to my chest.
Nigeria makes me sad.
Stories like those associated with the beheading of politicians and the massacres of citizens in River States are devastating to my health status.
I think about where civilisation has brought mankind and what Nigerians are doing to themselves. I’ll been insensitive and inhuman to hold back my tears.
Stories from the north are not news. The traumas of my childhood just became incurable as l wrote in a previous essay.
I don’t think that Boko Haram or terrorists (individuals or government) anywhere in the world represent the true species of humans. I long for a new biological classification of the animal kingdom. The world needs a new Carl Linnaeus.
The fuel scarcity in Nigeria is still unbelievable. Nigeria is naturally endowed with this resource. I have no words to flog the curse of the black oil. Huge disappointment for the black race is an understatement.
Power supply does not trip off in many countries around the world. Nigerians are undoubtedly among the smartest and most creative people under the sun.
Hence, it is hard to find an answer to the question: why do Nigerians have almost no electricity at all in the country?
Femi, my smart friend in Stockholm, gave an insight, it may be an answer.
He said that even if Nigeria decides to provide electricity on 100% supply mode, the infrastructures are not there to sustain it. O dear!
If that be the case, what about spending the next 2-3 years putting the infrastructure in place and constant power supply for ever more? Is that rocket science too?
I called this essay reflection and my intention was to make it short.
One can be hard on self if the issues and problems with Nigerians are taken too hard/harsh.
Whatever, it will always make me sad to see all the possibilities for growth, for development and for making Nigeria a paradise yet that the useless political class and the thieving ruling class have decided that the status quo shall be sustained.
I could definitely go on to reflect or complain. They want us to be tired of doing this. If we get tired, things might even get worse for the voiceless and the downtrodden in Nigeria.
I wish that good roads, good schools, good hospitals and modern infrastructures will be developed in every local government and every state in Nigeria.
I wish that as many people as possible will know and experience quality life style before they bid the world goodbye.
It is sad to see people who have lived all of their lives in extreme poverty whilst the country Nigeria has the potential to be the best place in the world.
The people paid severely for bad governance and mismanagement.
They are still paying and when restructuring the political system and realigning the country regionally or on true federalism are not even mentioned as probable solutions, there is little hope that we will change the lines of discussions soonest.